For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.
I teach Catholic religious education to second graders in my parish. I have been a catechist for 7 years now and I really enjoy it. For second graders, we prepare for not 1 but 2 sacraments -Reconciliation ( or Confession) and First Holy Communion (Holy Eucharist). It is a most important and critical year for young Catholics because these 2 sacraments are so vital to our faith, especially the Eucharist which is the source and summit of Catholic life.
As I teach these children, I am sometimes disheartened and frankly a little confused by not the kids but the parents. I will never understand why parents spend their time and hard earned money to send their children to religious education and not set an example for them. Many parents that I have met over the years are good people and have the best interest of their child at heart I truly believe.
Then, why aren’t these good people going to Mass and Reconciliation?
I can’t tell you how many times I have heard my kids say ” I can’t go to Mass; I have a game” or ” I don’t go to Mass; my parents don’t take me”. At 7 and 8 years of age, I can’t expect the children to get to Mass on their own of course. And it makes it hard for me to reinforce the basic prayers and concepts of Catholic life when the children are not exposed to it.
Children in all areas of their lives need good examples. They need parents, siblings, coaches and teachers to show them the way to carry themselves through life. In the Catholic life, children need examples of everyday holiness. What better way to do that then to have Mom and Dad set the example and take their child to Mass and Confession.
As a catechist, I try to set the example by preparing well for each lesson and doing my best to explain the concepts of Catholic life in a way that second graders can understand. Frankly, there are some concepts that are hard for adults to understand. I can only do so much in a one hour period weekly; the rest should be coming from the most influential people in a child’s life.
Jesus set the example for all of us on how to live – let us strive to give that same example to future generations.